For the third consecutive time, Europe has managed to compete against the Americans of Tom Watson’s team in the fourth season of the Ryder Cup. Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Spanish Sergio García amongst others, led by Irish captain Paul McGinley, confirm the superiority of golfers from the Old Continent, in a passionate show down which will leave an unforgettable mark on the history of this sport.
Around 100 years of history surround the Ryder Cup, a unique competition which pits two continents, separated by the Atlantic sea, against each other in a test of skill. Recently, the United States and Europe returned once again to test each other’s skills, met with the usual audience and expectations that surround the event.
The European team won the Gleneagles Scottish circuit by 16.5 points against the Americans hurt in their pride and eager for revenge they continued open wounded, scoring only 11.5 points. After two days of heated competition, Paul McGinley managed to win the duel when Rory McIlroy defeated Californian Rickie Fowler with four ‘birdies’ and an extraordinary ‘eagle’ and then Welsh Jamie Donaldson, scoring the victory point with four games still left to play.
Praise should be given to Sergio García, who managed to score a creditable point against Jim Furyk, even though the tournament had already been decided. This performance of the Spaniard, who still holds his 3rd place in the world ranking, shows us just how elevated the level is at which this sport is practiced in Spain.
Years of Disappointment, Years of Glory
Since 1993, the United States as a whole, have not tasted victory on European soil. After a historic comeback from Olazabal in Medinah located in Chicago, those of Tom Watson – this time without Tiger Woods – promised war and has not disappointed; even though the Ryder Cup will remain on this side of the Atlantic for another two years.So much has changed since the times in which the tournament had a single owner.
At the start of the 1920’s, this annual tournament was no more than a casual game between day to day Englishmen. Curious though, as Gleneagles became the setting for the first edition. Few players, and even less fans would witness the ‘Yankee’ defeat. In 1926, however, a second tournament would generate a greater audience and fan base, even though Britain once again fended off the visiting team.
Businessman Samuel Ryder, felt a strong attraction to the event; deciding to finance it and pay each member of the winning team 5 pounds with an added bonus of champagne and chicken sandwiches. And with this gesture, the Ryder Cup was born, even though nobody would imagine just how much the sport would be dominated by the Americans for the next 50 years.
Between 1927 and 1983, the Ryder reveal the stars both in the sunny meadows of North America and in the countryside of the old continent. But in the decade of the 1980s, Great Britain would allow the inclusion of the rest of Europe – giving the tournament a continental touch.
In recent years, equality between opponents is absolute, though the colors of the markers is a whole different story – blue dominates within Europe. As is always the case, the highly desired trophy changes hands constantly; entertainment is also another ingredient of the Ryder Cup, largely thanks to the contribution of Spanish golfers.
A Long Lasting Tradition
With more than 400 golf courses and 296 thousands federations, Spain is one of the countries with highest golf traditions, also being the most popular tourist destination for fans of the sport; in turn leading way for famous players such as Álvaro Quirós, Beatriz Recari and Rafa Cabrera.
It would be in 1985 when golf within Spain began to grow and have a greater international presence, in part thanks to the magisterial actions of Severiano Ballesteros and José María Olazábal, two giants of the ‘turf’But we should not forget the efforts of public golf courses, the growing presence of the sport within schools, accessibility to golf clubs nor the admirable efforts of summer camps.
In 2016 the Ryder Cup will return to the American continent, to the prestigious Hazeltine Natural Golf Club, where it will be decided whether the locals will regain their glory, or the Europeans will steal the title. Whichever the case, it is safe to say that Golf is an ever growing sport on this side of the Atlantic.